And now you know why!
I proudly present the latest iteration of A Rain of Frogs.
This design has been percolating in my head for quite some time, but something has always come up to prevent me from gaining any headway on the project.
It started a while ago when I was toying around with ideas for logos. I have always liked the serif wordmark I used on this site, especially coupled with the image of the falling frog, but it just wasn’t… indicative. Not iconic enough perhaps. The idea of a rain of frogs is hard enough to explain to people, let alone to leave imprinted in someone’s memory.
And so, after much experimentation, I finally came up with the frog and his umbrella. This seemed to capture the feeling I was trying for, and so it became the centerpiece of a whole new direction for this site.
It was important to me to retain the ‘orangeness’ of the site as well. The site has always had a strong orange component to it, and I didn’t want to lose this. But I also wanted to branch out, create something a bit more distinctive than the bold but eventually unremarkable orange bar the site has featured for the last year and a bit. The bold grey header bar, to me, actually enhances the orange of the site.
I wanted more space for content, but didn’t want to pack the site with text. I’ve been exploring photography and sketching again, and wanted to make a place that encouraged me to post my explorations. My girlfriend had also made the observation that I didn’t include much artwork in my design. I pondered this for a while and decided she was right.
Typographically, the old site was a step forward. It featured some interesting stylistic details, the most notable being hanging quotes. But the type was small, and with the purchase of my Macbook and its very high pixel density, the type became uncomfortable to read. I freely admit this might be a function of my aging eyeballs. The new site features much larger and much more readable Helvetica Neue (or Arial, if you’re not so lucky as Mac users), in a slightly easier-on-the-eyes dark grey. Contrast is good, but too much can be a bad thing.
Then there’s the actual code. It’s more compliant, more semantic, and simply all-round better. I accomplished more with less code, and that code is prettier than the old version. I also did something I had meant to a long time ago, and took advantage of elastic design to let the layout scale with type size. This was important to me, and I am glad I have done it.
There are more changes ahead for A Rain of Frogs, not least of which is tuning the site to better handle Internet Explorer. I make no claims about the site’s layout in that worst of browsers, but I am going to spend some time working on it. Stay tuned for details on this and many other upcoming changes.
I am proud of this redesign. I hope it is as good for you as it is for me. Please take a moment to let me know what you think.